Warners Bay have pulled off possibly the coup of the 2022 Herald Women's Premier League season by signing Jets trio Cassidy Davis, Tara Andrews and Lauren Allan.
It will be not only a boost for the Panthers but also a boost for the Northern NSW Football women's top-flight competition, which will move to National Premier League Women's (NPLW) status next year.
Davis played for Warners Bay between 2016 and 2019. The Jets co-captain was integral to leading the club to three consecutive grand finals in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and championship success in her first campaign in Panthers colours.
Andrews and Allan were key to New Lambton securing the WPL premiership-championship double in 2019. The strikers combined for 81 of the Eagles' 113 goals that season and Andrews collected the competition's player of the year accolade.
Both Davis and Andrews are long-serving Jets players. Andrews passed a 100-match milestone for her home-town's W-League club last season and Davis is poised to also achieve the feat this coming campaign. Allan has been re-signed by the Jets for a third year.
All three live in Newcastle but have played in NSW NPLW in Sydney for the past two seasons, Andrews and Davis for Manly and Allan with Northern Tigers.
None have played since June 10, when Greater Sydney was plunged into lockdown due to coronavirus.
"The past two seasons in Manly were a bit different with COVID," Davis told the Newcastle Herald.
"I never got a full season there, which was frustrating. But it was moreso that I was getting exhausted with the travel. It's such a big commitment. I felt like it was becoming difficult."
Davis also works for the Jets and is studying to be a teacher.
"I have to complete a 10-week internship next year, so there was no real chance I could be travelling down to Sydney and working full-time," she said.
"Playing back here has been a decision based on that. I'm glad I did go to Sydney and play. It was a great experience. But I'm excited to be back with Warners Bay and I've always loved playing in the WPL."
The Panthers were fourth before Herald WPL was abandoned due to lockdown. They were well led by captain Elodie Dagg and relied heavily on young talent.
Warners Bay coach Craig Atkins expects to retain the bulk of his squad, including former W-League player Tara Pender.
"We always knew that Cass was most likely going to come back to Warners Bay, then she mentioned Tara Andrews and then Lauren Allan came into the picture as well, so it's super exciting," Atkins said.
"It's fantastic for the club and a lot of young players at the club, who I think will thrive in this environment and learn so much from the girls.
"It's looking extremely good for next year."
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